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Beat the Streets New York’s Leadership Camp at Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid is a big success

BTS coach Ray Brinzer and USA Wrestling staff members Tony Black and Cody Bickley discuss a wrestling skill during a clinic at the Beat the Streets Leadership Camp. Justin Hoch photo

For the third year, USA Wrestling and Beat the Streets brought a group from New York City up north to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid for a series of educational seminars and clinics for its annual Leadership Camp.

In the past, this had been for coaches, in the form of an NCEP Silver College. This year, the project was expanded to include a leadership component, and included outstanding young student-athletes from the Beat the Streets New York program. A group of 53 high school athletes and 21 coaches made the trip up to Lake Placid for a full schedule of learning experiences.

USA Wrestling national staff members Cody Bickley, Tony Black and Mitch Hull were among the featured instructors on technique and philosophy. Respected speaker Mark Hull was also brought in for a popular classroom session. Coaches received the NCEP Bronze certification and credits towards their Silver level. Athletes, who were selected through an application process, had both on-mat instruction and leadership training sessions.

"It was a great opportunity for me to see the kind of work the partnership between Beat the Streets and USA Wrestling can produce,” said Jim Fallis, Executive Director of Beat the Streets, Inc. “Our kids benefited from great facilities, a terrific curriculum, and a deep focus on building well-rounded individuals. I was particularly impressed with Mark Hull's Coaching the Heart of the Athlete series. This was my first experience as the new Executive Director, and it provided me with important insight into ways that we are fulfilling our mission of creating a strong culture of wrestling and helping our student-athletes to achieve their full human and athletic potential."

USA Wrestling’s National Coaches Education Program Manager Cody Bickley talks about the success of the Beat the Streets Leadership Camp.

“It has been a great program and it has expanded. It initially started out as a Silver level clinic for Beat the Street Coaches. This year, we had over 50 athletes on complex at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid. Putting them in the environment they got to experience at the Olympic Training Center is phenomenal. We put an emphasis not only on mat technique, but also leadership, being a stand-up student-athlete and being a good representative of their community,” said Bickley.

The facilities and the atmosphere at the U.S. Olympic Training Center made a huge impact on the coaches and athletes who participated.

"I always look forward to the Leadership Camp at Lake Placid. This is the third year we've held a camp at the Olympic Training Center and they really make us feel welcome. The food is great, the scenery is incredible; and the fact that we're sharing space with Olympic champions and medalists rubs off on our kids -- they recognize and appreciate the opportunity and it has a tangible effect on their confidence and attitudes as they move back to their school teams. It's a tremendous boost to our goals here at home in New York City," said Justin Hoch, Director of Operations and Advancement for the Beat the Streets program.

USA Wrestling has made a commitment to support this program, and help the sport to grow and strengthen in one of the nation’s largest cities.

"USA Wrestling provided first-class instruction; Cody Bickley, Tony Black, and Mitch Hull did an outstanding job. We are all so fortunate that they were able to make it up to Lake Placid again this year," said Larry Cantor, a leader within the Beat the Streets program.

“The bottom line is that we feel this is important,” said Bickley. “Most of the young men and women in this camp come from a challenging situation. We wanted to provide them with a positive experience. It has been a good partnership with Beat the Streets New York and we look forward to it continuing to grow.”

Beat the Streets New York website

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